Simon Grayson sees a bright future for Josh Brownhill after handing the teenager his Preston North End debut in the midweek defeat to Oldham.
The 17-year-old midfielder joined the action as a 76th-minute substitute for Nicky Wroe.
Some bright appearances in the youth team have led to him being invited to train with the senior squad of late.
Brownhill was in the squad which travelled to Peterborough last week, and on Tuesday night he made the bench for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie.
PNE manager Grayson told the Evening Post: “Regardless of how the game was going, it was always our intention to get him some game time.
“Josh has made an impact every time he’s trained with us and never looks fazed.
“He showed the other night that he is comfortable on the ball and willing to get on it to try and make things happen.
“The lad has fantastic energy and we think he has a bright future ahead of him.
“In the youth team he has been scoring goals, which is a good string to his bow.
“Josh will have enjoyed Tuesday night and his parents would have very proud that he made his debut.
“Hopefully in the future we are talking about a player who has an impact on the football club for many years.”
Brownhill was among a trio of debutants against Oldham.
Alex Nicholson and Ryan Croasdale were in the starting XI.
Right wing-back Nicholson played the full game, with midfielder Croasdale lasting until the interval before being substituted as Grayson changed the formation.
“Ryan was a bit unfortunate to come off at half-time but we needed to change the system,” said Grayson.
“Alex has been very patient here, in terms of waiting for his contract.
“I thought he settled quite well into his position.
“He made a few mistakes like the majority of the team did, but he was up against a winger who was quite a handful.
“If someone was to ask me in a week’s time would I change my thoughts about Tuesday night’s team selection, I would say ‘no’.”
After ringing the changes for the JPT tie, Grayson will revert back to a more recognised side for Saturday’s league game with Crewe at Deepdale.
But he has an injury concern over central defender Bailey Wright.
It is believed that Wright was pencilled in to play against Oldham but hurt his ankle at Peterborough.
Said Grayson: “Bailey took a knock to his ankle last Saturday.
“He will be touch and go for the weekend but we will give him the best opportunity to recover because he has been a big player for us this season.
“Hopefully Bailey will be fit but let’s wait and see.”
As things stand, Grayson also has three players missing from his squad heading towards the weekend because of international call-ups.
Chris Humphrey (Jamaica), Iain Hume (Canada) and Will Hayhurst (Republic of Ireland Under-21s) are the trio away.
Grayson is content for the Crewe game to go ahead, even though PNE are entitled to a postponement.
He said: “We will definitely be playing Crewe – there is no question of us having the game called off.
“We lost our first league game of the season last week and we have a group of players who are capable of winning matches without one or two players.”
Meanwhile, PNE players will be attending two fans’ forums.
The first has been organised by the South Ribble Supporters’ Club this Monday night at the Queens Hotel in Leyland (8pm) with Kevin Davies, Tom Clarke and David Buchanan.
Then on Wednesday, November 6, Scott Laird, Chris Humphrey and Declan Rudd will be answering questions at Longridge Cricket Club, Chipping Road, Longridge (7.30pm).